NO, GOOGLE is unlikely to move jobs to continental Europe, nor invest more there, said Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Alphabet (parent of the online giant) at a conference in Paris last week. Just because Britons voted to quit the European Union, businesses need not react hastily. But he added a warning that Britain and the EU must not let a digital gap open up; they need as “great a unification as possible” in technology regulation.

Tech bosses fret that Britain and the EU will end up with different policies towards their most important resource: data. On July 12th the EU is expected, at last, to approve “Privacy Shield”, an agreement to let companies transfer personal data across the Atlantic. (In October the European Court of Justice struck down an old deal as unsafe.) But if Britain leaves the union, nobody knows whether the new shield will cover it, too. So might the EU block data flows across the Channel, unless Britain negotiates a privacy agreement of its own? Since some in Brussels are suspicious of intrusive British surveillance, that could prove messy.

Uncertainty leaves not just big cloud-computing firms such as...Continue reading